Eric Decker-Catching On At The Bye

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Eric Decker

There have been many sweeping statements in the past month and a half about Eric Decker dropping passes and I’d like to clear that up. The timing is right because the Broncos have their Bye Week and not much else is going on.

Sweeping statement number 1: Eric Decker leads the league in dropped passes.

I have heard this repeatedly and it blows my mind just how many people make uninformed statements.

Decker has dropped 6 passes in 2013 through Week 8. He has been thrown 64 catchable passes and caught 46 of them for a Drop Rate of .094%. Just so everyone knows, 10% isn’t bad. It isn’t terrific, but unless you are a Running Back that only runs Button Hook routes, it is completely acceptable. In 2011, the worst drop rate was a little over 20% and in 2010, ended up being around 15%. Obviously, the amount of passes thrown a receiver’s way should be considered as well.

Davone Bess of the Cleveland Brown leads the league this season with 9 drops and a Drop Rate of 24.32%. Bess has had 37 catchable balls thrown his way and held on to 28 of them.

The fact of the matter is, Eric hasn’t dropped a catchable ball in 4 games. Sure he had 3 in the first game along with a Fumble and another pair against the Giants in Week 2, but he also did grab 9 passes in that game as well and was targeted 13 times, the most of anyone on the field that day. Even though the Broncos won both games, some fans decided they needed to complain about something.

Those three drops were the same amount that Decker had through 4 years in college, over 330 completions. So this wasn’t characteristic of him.

Shortly after the Giants game, it was made widely known that Decker and his wife are expecting their first child. Now I don’t have any kids personally, but I DO know that every guy I’ve known who was a first-time expectant Father was a nervous wreck. Life matters come before football, I don’t care who you are. Another fact was made known, that Decker had an injured shoulder. He didn’t use that as an excuse though and played every game even though he wasn’t 100%.

In Week 3, Decker bounced back with 8 Receptions for 133 yards and a Touchdown. And still the Broncos were winning. In Week 7’s loss to the Colts, Eric had another 8 catch afternoon, with 150 yards and a Touchdown.

Through Week 8, Eric Decker has 46 catches on 71 Targets, with 669 receiving yards, a 14.5 yard average, 3 Touchdowns and a Long of 61 yards. He has caught 8 passes that have gone 20-plus yards, is averaging 83.6 yards per game, has 216 Yards After Catch and 30 First Downs. That is a 42.9% 1st Down Rate.

This is where Reic Decker currently ranks throughout the league (per ESPN stats)

  • T-10th in Catches- 46 (Brandon Marshall. AJ Green, Cecil Shorts)

  • T-10th in Targets- 71 (Andre Johnson, Wes Welker)

  • 6th in Yards-669

  • 32nd in Avg.-14.5

  • T-25th in TDs

  • T-16th for 20+ yd catches

  • 14th in Yds/Gm  83.6

  • T-1st in Fumbles 2 (Julio Jones)

  • 21st in YAC 216

  • T-9th in 1st Downs 30 (Jimmy Graham, Victor Cruz, A.J. Green, Jordan Cameron)

Eric’s numbers extrapolate (even though this is a lame method and not always true) to 92 catches, 1,338 yards, 6 TD’s and 12 dropped balls.

Maybe not Pro Bowl numbers, but split between the likes of Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, those are very notable. Especially if the Broncos are winning.

Just because I found this data during my quest, I will insert it here.

Here is how the ‘Four Horsemen’ if you will, have been targeted by Peyton Manning this season.

  • Eric Decker has received 21.0% of Manning’s targets. That is 32nd in the league. (Vincent Jackson leads all Wide Receivers with 90 Targets (33.8%).

  • Wes Welker – 21.6% (30th)

  • Demaryius Thomas – 20.7% (33rd)

  • Julius Thomas – 15.6% (14th). Vernon Davis leads all Tight Ends with 23.9%.

Here are their Catch Rates compared to the rest of the league. Those are backed up by this link as well.

11th…..Knowshon Moreno (RB)…….80.6%

26th…..Julius Thomas (TE)…………..75.0%

43rd…..Demaryius Thomas (WR)….69.6%

45th…..Wes Welker (WR)……………..69.4%

73rd…..Eric Decker (WR)………………65.7%

 

Sweeping statement number 2: All Eric Decker does is drop passes.

 

Ok. I think I’ve already proved this, but let’s dive further.

In 2012, Wes Welker, as a Patriot, dropped 19 catchable balls. He was also Targeted 191 times. Eric had 12 of his own and so did Demaryius Thomas. It should be noted that Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Victor Cruz, Donnie Avery, Dez Bryant, Randall Cobb and Steve Johnson all had 10+ drops in 2012.

Player

Targets

Caught

Drops

Rate

Yards

TDs

Welker

191

134

19

9.94%

 1,602

 7

Decker

130

91

12

9.23%

 1,148

 13

Thomas

145

97

12

8.27%

 1,467

 11

Now, because I don’t have the figures for “Catchable Balls,” this Table only showed the Drops-to-Target ratio, meaning Wes Welker dropped 10% of the pases he was thrown in 2012, or 1 in 10 passes were dropped. There is a huge difference in Catchable balls and Targets. Just because the pass hits a receiver in his hands, does not constitute a Catchable Ball. By the same token, a pass that he has to dive for or make an acrobatic grab isn’t accounted for in this stat. A catch is a catch, no matter the degree of difficulty. Those actually pad the Quarterback’s stats. The same discretion for a catchable ball is used as an Error in Baseball. The scorer, or in this case, the person reviewing game film, gets to make the judgement call.

Here is how the same trio did in 2011.

Player

Targets

Caught

Drops

Rate

Yards

TDs

Welker

193

141

15

7.77%

 1,737

 10

Decker

92

44

10

10.8%

  612

  8

Thomas

81

42

6

7.4%

  848

  5

 

And in 2010

Player

Targets

Caught

Drops

Rate

Yards

TDs

Welker

127

93

14

11%

 905

  7

Decker

8

6

1

12.5%

 106

  1

Thomas

37

22

2

5.4%

 283

  2

Yes, Decker has dropped 6 passes this season. Big deal. Wes Welker has dropped 5. Peyton Manning has thrown 6 Interceptions and Fumbled another 6 times. Do you think they should be cut too?

The Denver Broncos are 7-1. They are tied with Seattle for the 2nd best record in the league and currently sit as the #2 seed in the AFC. There is an entire half season of Football left, so let’s not over dramatize things. One game at a time. That’s how they play them and that’s how we should take them.

 

Go Broncos!

– Kaptain Kirk

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